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At the House of Mr Frog

Malcolm Gaskill: Puritanism, 18 March 2021

The Puritans: A Transatlantic History 
by David D. Hall.
Princeton, 517 pp., £20, May 2021, 978 0 691 20337 9
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The Journey to the Mayflower: God’s Outlaws and the Invention of Freedom 
by Stephen Tomkins.
Hodder, 372 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 1 4736 4911 8
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... Cartoonists​ find it as easy to draw puritans as they do Vikings. There’s an example on my pinboard. A behatted man, buttoned up in black, admires his wife’s sampler, which reads: ‘Way to Go, God.’ ‘Nice sentiment, Martha,’ he beams. Martha wears the same gloomy sub fusc, with black bonnet and broad linen collar ...

At New Hall

Eleanor Birne: Modern Women’s Art, 29 June 2017

... According to​ its account of itself, the New Hall Art Collection at Murray Edwards College in Cambridge is the ‘most significant’ collection of modern women’s art in Europe. There isn’t much competition: women-only art collections are rare things, outside Washington’s vast National Museum of Women in the Arts (five thousand artworks by a thousand artists, from Lavinia Fontana, b ...

At the David Parr House

Eleanor Birne: There are two histories here, 7 November 2019

... centre of the urban world. Walk down it now, past the old Dewdrop Inn (a Victorian joke: ‘do drop in’) and you barely notice Number 186. A two-storey artisan’s cottage, just as ordinary from the outside as the rest, it is open – two days a week at least – as the David Parr House, after its one-time ...

Poor Cyclops

David Quint: The ‘Odyssey’, 25 June 2009

The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ 
by Edith Hall.
Tauris, 296 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84511 575 3
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Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ 
by Lillian Doherty.
Oxford, 450 pp., £80, January 2009, 978 0 19 923332 8
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The Unknown Odysseus: Alternate Worlds in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ 
by Thomas Van Nortwick.
Michigan, 144 pp., $50, December 2008, 978 0 472 11673 7
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... In The Return of Ulysses Edith Hall takes us on a tour of global culture high and low, mostly from the last hundred years, to demonstrate how Homer’s great poem continues to permeate our sensibility and imagination. She is an informative and enthusiastic guide, and the sheer wealth of her examples is impressive ...

Advised by experts

David Worswick, 21 December 1989

The Economic Section, 1939-1961: A Study in Economic Advising 
by Alec Cairncross and Nita Watts.
Routledge, 372 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 03173 7
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The Robert Hall Diaries. Vol. I: 1947-1953 
edited by Alec Cairncross.
Unwin Hyman, 400 pp., £40, May 1989, 9780044452737
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... of the Economic Section up to 1961, and the other the first instalment of the diaries of Robert Hall, who was head of the Economic Section from 1947, throw a good deal of light on these questions. Both authors of the history worked in the Section, Alec Cairncross briefly in 1940-41, and again as its head after 1961, and Nita Watts from 1941 to ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms, 6 September 2007

... Promenade Concerts were founded towards the close of the 19th century, shortly after the Queen’s Hall opened as a new musical venue in 1893. As such, they may be regarded as a classic instance of what is sometimes called ‘invented tradition’, where venerable antiquity is less in evidence than is often popularly supposed; and where change and adaptation ...

From Loss

David Harsent, 7 March 2019

... at the communion rail –         Christ’s firebreak: not in         the hall of mirrors where         you are set to rights         not in the basement bar         where you sit down         to a whisky-chain         and fall and rise and fall         back into a raw dawn light         over ...

By Sennen

David Harsent, 4 June 1998

... of course you are, landlocked in your kitchen, but just a step, after all, from the door into the hall, and then just a step from the door into the street where the cabbie is more than happy to wait by the slip-road that takes you out through the wrecked hulks of tower blocks, happy to stop- start-stop in the backed- up traffic, its tide-race of ...

Queen Croesus

David Cannadine, 13 February 1992

Royal Fortune: Tax, Money and the Monarchy 
by Phillip Hall.
Bloomsbury, 294 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1133 0
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... named George Otto Trevelyan published a pamphlet which had the effrontery to ask: ‘What does she do with it?’ Where, Trevelyan wanted to know, was all the money going which the Queen was paid by the Government for the sole purpose of maintaining the duties and dignities of her position as head of state? Instead of being spent as it should have been, on ...

Victorian Piles

David Cannadine, 18 March 1982

The Albert Memorial: The Monument in its Social and Architectural Context 
by Stephen Bayley.
Scholar Press, 160 pp., £18.50, September 1981, 0 85967 594 7
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Victorian and Edwardian Town Halls 
by Colin Cunningham.
Routledge, 315 pp., £25, July 1981, 9780710007230
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... this is a well-meaning but slightly claustrophobic book: rather like Albert himself. ‘A town hall,’ Sir Charles Barry observed in 1859, ‘should in my opinion be the most dominant and important of the municipal buildings of the city in which it is placed. It should be the means of giving due expression to public feeling upon all national and municipal ...


James Wood: St Aubyn’s Savage Sentences, 2 November 2006

Mother’s Milk 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 279 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 330 43589 2
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... Mother’s Milk, the central character, Patrick Melrose, tries to explain to his old friend Johnny Hall, a psychoanalyst, about his rage and depression, and about their ancient familial sources. ‘I think you can afford to lose control,’ Johnny counsels Patrick, ‘to go into free fall. If the past was going to destroy you it already would have.’ Patrick ...

Solid and Fleeting

David Sylvester, 17 December 1992

... locations for which to make site-specific sculptures, accepted the Tate’s invitation to do something in their domineering central hall – a space ostensibly built for showing sculpture but serving that purpose rather badly, partly because it makes the things put into it look as if they were lost at the bottom of ...

What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... Malawi – UK passport-holders – were put up in a hotel while social workers decided what to do with their children. The Sun ran it as a front page story: ‘Scandal of £600 a week Asians’. The Mirror followed up by condemning a ‘New Flood of Asians into Britain’. The Express warned that 145,000 further migrants might follow. Supporters of the ...

Eagle v. Jellyfish

Theo Tait: Edward St Aubyn, 2 June 2011

At Last 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 266 pp., £16.99, May 2011, 978 0 330 43590 1
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... but are entirely dominated by three characters: Patrick and his mother and father, Eleanor and David Melrose, two of the great monsters of recent fiction. The first three books each provided a snapshot of a particular point in Patrick’s life: his miserable, abused childhood in Provence in Never Mind (1992); his miserable, heroin-addicted twenties in Bad ...

The Killing of Blair Peach

David Renton, 22 May 2014

... showed around twenty NF supporters, all men, giving Nazi salutes as they went into Southall Town Hall. Southall was one of the most racially diverse areas in London: in five wards surveyed in 1976, 46 per cent of the population had been born in the New Commonwealth. The National Front’s candidate, John Fairhurst, had stood in nearby Hayes and Harlington in ...

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